Are you looking forward to giving out a treat during the festive season? The festive season is just around the corner. The best way to enjoy the festive season is to call upon your close friends and family members and give them a great treat by cooking some delicious, lip-smacking meat dishes.
If you are looking forward to cooking meat in the most delicious and healthy manner at the same time, making use of the smoking technique is considered the best choice out there. When you are smoking the meat, you can cook the same at a lower temperature range for a longer duration. This not only helps in adding great flavor to the meat from all angles, but the process of smoking also helps in preventing the meat from getting spoiled too soon or easily.
When you are looking forward to smoking the meat with much ease & convenience, making use of the high-end electric smoker can be immensely beneficial. When you make use of the electric smoker, it can help you obtain delicious meats of your choice at home itself.
Unlike the conventional charcoal smokers –which had to be monitored every minute, the modern electric smokers allow the users to cook meat slowly and easily without having the need to keep checking every now & then. All you are required to do is to season the meat you are smoking, select the preference of time & temperature settings, and let the electric smoker handle the rest. The meat you are cooking will get smoked perfectly within a matter of a few hours.
Parts of the Electric Smoker
Before you start using the electric smoker, it is crucial that you should be aware of the electric smoker functioning and its components. Some of the significant elements of the electric smoker include the following:
- Smoker Body: The smoker body of the electric smoker is considered the heart of the smoking unit. The entire amount of smoke or heat would want to escape the grips of the tasty, juicy meat in one way or the other. As such, it is recommended that the smoker body of the electric smoker must be appropriately insulated such that it is capable of trapping all the heat & smoke within the unit –perfect for smoking the meat deliciously.
- The Digital Controller Pad: The digital controller pad of the smoker can be regarded as the brain of all operations happening in the smoking unit. The digital panel of the smoker –the one that is typically designed on the top end of the smoker, is the location where all the operation happens. It is the digital panel that allows the users to set the temperature, manage the overall cooking times, manage the respective timers, and all other features that the specific electric smoker might have. If you have recently bought an electric smoker, you must look into the particular characteristics of the smoker to understand its overall functioning. It is strongly recommended that you should go through the instructions of the product properly that will offer you a detailed insight into operating the smoker and its digital pad.
- Water Bowl: When you are smoking the meat, it is a well-known fact that the moisture present in the electric smoker can diminish rapidly –leaving the meat juiceless and dry. This is wherein the role of the water bowl in the smoker comes in. One of the most important considerations while selecting the water bowl for the smoker is to ensure that it is large enough to handle around one to two cups of water altogether. As per the experts, it is recommended that you should make use of hot water in the water pan while cooking. It will help in keeping the smoker hot.
- The Wooden Chips Bowl: The smoky flavor to the meat achieved with the help of the electric smoker is the primary appeal of the dish. One of the vital things to note about the wooden chips bowl is that across the entire cooking session, you are required to continuously add one or two cups of wood chips to ensure that the steam of smoke continues building up in the smoker.
- Drip Tray: Have you ever made use of the conventional barbeque? You might have noticed that the juices tend to drip down from the meat, and it causes the flames roaring to life –destroying all your hard work during the smoking process. This is wherein the role of the drip tray comes in. Typically, the main purpose of the drip tray component is collecting all the juices coming from the smoker –preventing the fluctuations of the temperature.
Now that you are aware of the essential parts or components of the electric smoker, you can start off with understanding the working of the electric smoker and how to use a smoker at the same time.
Starting Up the Smoker
Season the Electric Smoker
The process of seasoning the electric smoker is concerned with running the smoker while it is empty. This helps in eliminating the odors, dust, and all solvent residue that might have been left after the manufacturing process. For doing the same, it is recommended that you should rub the interiors of the smoker including the racks, with some cooking oil –any variety of cooking oil will do the purpose. Then, you can turn on the smoker, and allow it to run for around two to three hours at about 121-140 Degree Celsius (250-280 Degree Fahrenheit).
Once you have seasoned the electric smoker, you can turn it off. Now, open the hood or door of the smoker, and allow it to cool down before using or handling any of the smoker components. Different smokers tend to have slightly different seasoning mechanisms. You are required to season the smoker only once –when it is brand new. After this, if you keep seasoning repeatedly, it will keep adding various layers of oil inside the surface.
Turn on the Electric Smoker
Now, for beginning the smoking process, you can turn on the electric smoker by hitting the power button –located on the front side of the smoker for activating it. This will put the smoker in the standby mode –it will not actually start preheating unless you have programmed the same to the desired temperature and time settings by making use of the digital panel.
While switching on the electric smoker, it is essential to ensure that the smoker is plugged in. There should be nothing obstructing the smoker’s power cord. If the smoker comes unplugged during the operation, you will not only end up wasting several hours of cooking but also several pounds of meat.
Add the Desired Amount of Wood Chips to the Smoker’s Chip Tray
On most of the typical smoker models out there, the chip tray for storing the wood chips is located on the bottom right side of the appliance. You should pull out the tray and fill it with the wood chips of your choice. Once the tray is full, slide the tray back into the appliance, and turn the handle of the tray counterclockwise for dumping the chips into the internal heating component of the smoker.
As per the thumb of rule, you should consider making use of around four cups of wood chips for every three to five hours of the cooking process. This implies that you might have to refill the chip tray at frequent intervals. It is recommended that you should always make use of hardwood chips in the electric smoker –like the pecan, mesquite, birch, hickory, or apple. The soft variants of wood including pine & fir tend to burn fast –producing a highly unappetizing flavor to the meat.
Preheat the Electric Smoker to Around 95-110 Degree Celsius (200-230 Degree Fahrenheit)
In most of the typical electric smoker, there is the presence of the high-end digital panel. This allows the users to press the arrows up & down for increasing or decreasing the temperature as desired. Allow the smoker to be pre-heated to around 35-40 minutes on an average. For most of the meat types, the best temperature range is considered to be around 95-110 Degree Celsius (200-230 Degree Fahrenheit). However, for the best results, it is recommended that you must go through the manual or the instructions booklet to know about the suggested temperature range for different types of meats.
Place the Water Bowl or Container at the Bottom of the Smoker
Once the smoker has finished its preheating, you can fill the water bowl or container with hot water, and then slide the same to its designated position –located just below the smoking chamber. If your smoker does not come with a dedicated space for the water bowl, you can simply put the bowl at the bottom of the chamber, on the floor. The steam from the water bowl that gets created during the smoking process will help in keeping the meat moist and juicy.
It is recommended that you should make use of hot water instead of cold water as it helps in ensuring that the smoker continues cooking at the optimal temperature –without any fluctuation. If you prefer, you can also consider adding wine, beer, apple juice, or any other flavor of liquid to the bowl in the smoker for infusing the meats with delicious aromatic notes.
Top Ways to Get the Most of Your Electric Smoker
Once you are aware of the basics of using an electric smoker for cooking some delicious meats of your choice, it is imperative for you to know about some tips & tricks to make the most of the smoker at the same time. Here are some important pointers that you should keep in mind:
- Do Not Oversmoke the Meat: Whether you are smoking meat or any other food item in the electric smoker, the general rule is to ensure perfect smoking –neither under-smoking nor over-smoking. When it comes to the working of the electric smoker, you will be surprised to know how minimal smoking can help in creating the perfect blend of the delicious tastes and welcoming aroma all around.
While you might be experimenting with the smoker and the food, it is recommended that you should not forget that food –particularly the meats that tend to be over-smoked can become easily inedible. You are most likely to only require a single tray of the chip or wood pellets while cooking chicken to obtain the desired flavors.
- Smoke the Meat on a Hot Setting: Meat –especially chicken, is not the type of food that you would like cooking “slow & low.” In fact, as per the experts, the best temperature range for smoking chicken is around 275-280 Degree Fahrenheit. On an average basis, the overall cooking or smoking process should take around one to two hours. When you are specifically cooking chicken, it is important to ensure that the meat is cooked As you might be aware, under-cooked chicken might be potentially dangerous for your health.
The best way to make sure that the chicken is cooked well is to check its internal temperatures with the help of the food thermometer. The internal temperature that reaches around 165 Degree Fahrenheit is regarded that the meat is cooked and safe to consume.
- Learn Controlling the Temperature Swings: At the starting of the smoking process, the temperature inside the electric smoker might undergo “swinging.” Sometimes, it can reach up to 220oF or above, and sometimes it might go below the set temperatures. Therefore, for ensuring the best results, it is recommended that you must learn how to control the temperature swings in the electric smoker. This can be achieved with regular practice and experience. Once you have mastered the same, you can look forward to cooking your favorite meals perfectly.
Make the most of the electric smoker by knowing how to make use of the same perfectly. Cook your favorite meats deliciously –just the way you want!